Now here was a fascinating battle at the front of what was a punishing race with two strong runners battling each other on a succession of tough hills. What a shame I wasn’t one of those runners but hey, at least I could just about see them in the distance.
Those were big hills. I mean come on, I know there are plenty of tough fell running types in our running club but to me that’s as many hills as I want to cover in one race. I believe one of them is even known as ‘The Killer Mile’. Basically this is two loops of a course set in a strip of lovely North Worcestershire countryside unfortunately sandwiched between the last suburb in Birmingham and the M42.
I came third today behind Andy and Sean who were having a great race about 50 yards ahead of me. Andy went out quickly and maintained a lead up until about 1.5 miles to go. By that point I was beginning to lose sight of them but I could see that Sean was beginning to establish a short lead which he maintained until the end. The cruellest part of this course (other than the manic farm dogs chasing us) is that once you’ve completed the second loop you have to go down the hill and then straight back up it again. It’s a hill in which you hope the runner is front is going to tire and you will find some hidden reservoir of strength. It wasn’t to be though and I came in at 47min 40secs which must be at least 30 seconds behind Andy. Sally came back first for the women again and looked very comfortable indeed. Everyone else looked suitably tired when they finished although there were a few sprint finishes which I find astonishing considering the size of the hill they’d all just come up.
As the results come together some of the battles in the age categories and elsewhere in the field will emerge and I’ll try to dwell on them as well since they may be a lot more interesting than hearing about my succession of diminishing returns. Although having said that, it is my blog and I do have a significant ego to feed.
Tomorrow: 5 miles on the canals (on which I suspect there will be a lot of standing water on the paths – should be fun)
(Above pic from Paul Foot’s collection although that’s him in the pic on the right so presumably this is a Mike Scotney pic. Full results at Bournville Harriers site)
A very tough race – but lovely scenery and a great atmosphere ( plus great support from everyone ) helped cushion the pain!